Section 6
Chapter 5,518

Genetic variability of flight metabolism in Drosophila melanogaster. II. Relationship between power output and enzyme activity levels

Laurie-Ahlberg, C.C.; Barnes, P.T.; Curtsinger, J.W.; Emigh, T.H.; Karlin, B.; Morris, R.; Norman, R.A.; Wilton, A.N.

Genetics 111(4): 845-868


ISSN/ISBN: 0016-6731
PMID: 3934033
Accession: 005517593

The major goal of the studies reported here was to determine the extent to which genetic variation in the activities of the enzymes participating in flight metabolism contributes to variation in the mechanical power output of the flight muscles in Drosophila melanogaster. Isogenic chromosome substitution lines were used to partition the variance of both types of quantitative trait into genetic and environmental components. The mechanical power output was estimated from the wingbeat frequency, wing amplitude and wing morphology of tethered flies by applying the aerodynamic models of Weis-Fogh and Ellington. There were three major results. (1) Chromosomes sampled from natural populations provide a large and repeatable genetic component to the variation in the activities of most of the 15 flight metabolism enzymes investigated and to the variation in the mechanical power output of the flight muscles. (2) The mechanical power output is a sensitive indicator of the rate of flight metabolism (i.e., rate of oxygen consumption during tethered flight). (3) In spite of (1) and (2), no convincing cases of individual enzyme effects on power output were detected, although the number and sign of the significant enzyme-power correlations suggests that such effects are not totally lacking.

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